Sunday, 2 April 2017

They Sell Sunsets To Kids


'I don't think you understand. It is a trivial issue.'
'Miss Grant, murder is not something we view as trivial.'
Her laugh fills the room.
'But nobody has died!'
'We understand that now but we are answerable for the resources used. An entire block locked for three days. Ten officers have spent the week working on the case tirelessly, not to mention the forensics team and the various tests.'
'If you would have contacted me earlier, you could have avoided all this trouble.'
A blue diary is opened and the pages are ruffled.
'She doesn't like it when I wear blue. It doesn't suit my eyes. I don't understand but comply. She has agreed to not wear the green scarf because I hate it.'
'These details seem very intimate. Are you sure he hasn't got them by observing someone in real life?'
'Well, who could he have seen? He hasn't stepped out of his house in the past six months.'
'When was the last time you saw him Miss Grant?'
'Oh, I don't know... I dropped him some food four months back I think..'
'Well, then you possibly cannot attest to this fact.'
'You have to believe me...he is innocent...he has suffered so much already. Please, let me see him. The world has ruined him.'
'We know about his medical history madam. But we still don't know what caused it.'
'All the loveliest things in the world.'
'We don't have time to decipher puzzles madam. Plain speak please.'
'I will tell you everything you need to know on our way to meet my son.'
'Alright madam.'
A phone call is made from the room which falls empty in a matter of minutes.
'He was a lovely boy. He was gentle, kind and trusting of everybody. A nest in a nearby tree had fallen and injured two birds. He took them into his room and nursed them for months. I was so proud of him.'
An impatient sigh fills the corridor as they walk.
'He grew up as any normal kid would- liking those books, movies, and shows. "I will buy a Ferrari and take you for a ride in it Ma. I will be the best at my job, wearing Armani suits and live in a mansion like Bruce Wayne. When I get married to the love of my life, we will dance with every guest at the wedding to 'Can't take my eyes off you'." You're supposed to get over such fantasies..'
'He went away for college and that's where he met her. He promised to call me twice every week but it changed to four times a week. He would never tell me about anything other than her- how wonderful she was, how they liked the same things, her ambitions, how he could make up to her for the fights.'
'I was happy at first but got more and more concerned as the obsession grew. He got her home once and she was a wonderful girl. It seemed like she truly loved him. He was happier than I had ever seen him. But I still cautioned him. "You're young. Don't make the mistake of thinking this is all you deserve". I don't think he listened.'
They enter an elevator.
'It ended a month later. She told him that she had fallen in love with someone else. He broke.'
They step into a dimly lit corridor with caged doors every few meters.
'He stopped getting out of his dorm room. A month before his second semester finals, he showed up at the door. I ask him what's wrong but he doesn't answer. He moved into his room. The college kept sending letters. Teachers showed up, begging him to not waste his future. But he wouldn't meet anyone.'
' I asked him everyday to say something but he would never speak more than what he needed. "I am fine, Ma", he would say constantly. My concern slowly turned into anger. We would fight during the day and I would spend the nights crying, trying to figure out what I did wrong. But after a few weeks, things started to look better. He was talking to his friends again, he smiled and laughed. He started working at a local store and attended night classes. I thought it had finally passed until my sister and her kids came.'
'We all got together in the living room to watch a movie. He refused and wanted to go back to his room. When the kids circled him and tried to get him to the living room, he pushed them and screamed. I saw tears and fear in his eyes. He rushed up and locked himself. That's when I knew what was wrong.'
'What was it?'
'Everything he had ever seen or heard. They had fed him stories, stories which he liked better than reality. He knew about love before he felt it. He knew success before he tasted it. He knew about life before he lived it. They were better in his imagination than reality and when the anchor to that reality left him, he saw no virtue remaining there. Everything that had drugged him into feeling happy and hopeful had blinded him. They sold happy sunsets to kids. And they bought them.'
'What happened then?'
' I purged our house. No TV. No movies. No music. No fiction books. It did little to help as he moved out in a week. I begged him to not go but he wouldn't listen. That was five years ago.'
'We should tell you Miss Grant that the neighbors also believe he is innocent. Miss Juarez, whose house he knocked on, said that even though he was profusely crying "I killed her. I killed her", she had never seen him out of the house. She would frequently visit his house and had chanced upon the diaries. She believed it was his coping mechanism and never bought it up.'
'Thank god she was there. I will meet her soon.'
'You may meet him now. We can only give you 20 minutes. We will process his bail and discharge tomorrow.'
'Thank you.'
A cell door opens to reveal a man writing in a book. He looks up and smiles.
'Mom! You're not going to believe it, but I met someone. Her name is Debra..'

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